Remove leaves from frost damaged citrus?

kmickleson(z9 CA)February 3, 2012

I transplanted a Meyer and 'regular' lemon in the fall from large containers previously protected by a west facing overhang here in SF Bay Area. I'm in a frost prone microclimate in Marin where we had an extreme number of night frosts in Nov-Dec, and I'd not covered them. Damage shows dried up fruit, and curled (tho not yet browned leaves...some fallen around the bushes, many still on it) leaves.

I researched here enough to know I should not water them (we've not had much rain since the frost), and to wait till Spring to see what happens. My question is: should I bother to remove the dried, curled leaves, or just ignore them while waiting to re-evaluate after Spring starts?



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I would take off the leaves and cut back any black branches; paint the cuts with white latex paint if you wish. Leaving the dead leaves provides Winter haven for spiders, mites, insect larvae, etc.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 8:40PM
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kmickleson(z9 CA)

Thanks, John. I'll tackle that this weekend.

While I'm here, can I ask about drip? I know it's not ideal but my citrus are in mixed garden areas where other things (including roses) are on drip. The frequency of watering is generally adjusted depending on how hot it is in Spring/Summer. Can you offer any basic guidelines on managing this?

When they were in containers and facing the heat of the west, they were on frequent, often daily water. The emitters are an adjustable type.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 9:26PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

If all danger of frost has passed, you can clean them up.
Otherwise, the dead tissue does offer some insulation value between the live and dead tissue.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 10:03PM
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All my field trees are on drip irrigation; the issue is how long you let it run. Check the soil with a small soil augur or a small trowel to see that the soil is wet at least to 18 inches. My garden trees on the other hand are hand watered with a slow running hose once a week for deep watering. You could actually do both, if you like.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 10:07PM
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I would recommend leaving them on until the danger of another frost is over. As mentioned above, they do offer a bit of protection.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 12:11PM
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